ZIMBABWE: Reporter trainee detained, fired for asking questions

MARCH 17, 2007
Posted June 12, 2007

Tapiwa Chininga, New Zimbabwe Inter-Africa News Agency

Chininga, a reporter-in-training for the state New Zimbabwe Inter-Africa News Agency, was arrested after seeking comments from police officials about a security crackdown following a March 11 opposition rally in the capital Harare, according to news reports.

Chininga was accused of “using threatening, abusive or insulting words intending to provoke a breach of the peace” and was assaulted while in custody, defense lawyer Rangu Nyamurundira of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights told CPJ. The charge carries a prison term of up to six months and a fine.

Chininga was provisionally released the same day on bail of 10,000 Zimbabwean dollars (US$40), Nyamurundira said. The reporter was fired a week later, according to Voice of America. The charges against him were later dropped.